Simultaneous notes

These snippets illustrate the Notation Reference, section Simultaneous notes.


Additional voices to avoid collisions

In some instances of complex polyphonic music, additional voices are necessary to prevent collisions between notes. If more than four parallel voices are needed, additional voices can be added by defining a variable using the Scheme function context-spec-music.

voiceFive = #(context-spec-music (make-voice-props-set 4) 'Voice)
\relative c'' {
  \time 3/4 \key d \minor \partial 2
  <<
    { \voiceOne
      a4. a8
      e'4 e4. e8
      f4 d4. c8
    } \\ {
      \voiceThree
      f,2
      bes4 a2
      a4 s2
    } \\ {
      \voiceFive
      s2
      g4 g2
      f4 f2
    } \\ {
      \voiceTwo
      d2
      d4 cis2
      d4 bes2
    }
  >>
}

[image of music]


Changing a single note’s size in a chord

Individual note heads in a chord can be modified with the \tweak command inside a chord, by altering the font-size property.

Inside the chord (within the brackets < >), before the note to be altered, place the \tweak command, followed by #'font-size and define the proper size like #-2 (a tiny notehead).

\layout { ragged-right = ##t }
\relative {
  <\tweak #'font-size #+2 c e g c \tweak #'font-size #-2 e>1^\markup { A tiny e }_\markup { A big c }
}

[image of music]


Changing partcombine texts

When using the automatic part combining feature, the printed text for the solo and unison sections may be changed:

\new Staff <<
  \set Staff.soloText = #"girl"
  \set Staff.soloIIText = #"boy"
  \set Staff.aDueText = #"together"
  \partcombine
    \relative c'' {
      g4 g r r
      a2 g
    }
    \relative c'' {
      r4 r a( b)
      a2 g
    }
>>

[image of music]


Clusters

Clusters are a device to denote that a complete range of notes is to be played.

\layout {
  ragged-right = ##t 
}

fragment = \relative c' {
  c4 f <e d'>4
  <g a>8 <e a> a4 c2 <d b>4
  e2 c
}

<<
  \new Staff \fragment
  \new Staff \makeClusters \fragment
>>

[image of music]


Combining two parts on the same staff

The part combiner tool ( \partcombine command ) allows the combination of several different parts on the same staff. Text directions such as "solo" or "a2" are added by default; to remove them, simply set the property printPartCombineTexts to "false". For vocal scores (hymns), there is no need to add "solo"/"a2" texts, so they should be switched off. However, it might be better not to use it if there are any solos, as they won’t be indicated. In such cases, standard polyphonic notation may be preferable.

This snippet presents the three ways two parts can be printed on a same staff: standard polyphony, \partcombine without texts, and \partcombine with texts.

musicUp = \relative c'' {
  \time 4/4
  a4 c4.( g8) a4 |
  g4 e' g,( a8 b) |
  c b a2.
}

musicDown = \relative c'' {
  g4 e4.( d8) c4 |
  r2 g'4( f8 e) |
  d2 \stemDown a
}

\score {
  <<
    <<
    \new Staff {
      \set Staff.instrumentName = "Standard polyphony  "
      << \musicUp \\ \musicDown >>
    }
    \new Staff \with { printPartCombineTexts = ##f } {
      \set Staff.instrumentName = "PartCombine without texts  "
      \partcombine \musicUp \musicDown
    }
    \new Staff {
      \set Staff.instrumentName = "PartCombine with texts  "
      \partcombine \musicUp \musicDown
    }
    >>
  >>
  \layout {
    indent = 6.0\cm
    \context {
      \Score
      \override SystemStartBar #'collapse-height = #30
    }
  }
}

[image of music]


Displaying complex chords

Here is a way to display a chord where the same note is played twice with different accidentals.

fixA = {
  \once \override Stem #'length = #9
  \once \override Accidental #'extra-offset = #'(0.3 . 0)
}
fixB = {
  \once \override NoteHead #'extra-offset = #'(1.7 . 0)
  \once \override Stem #'rotation = #'(45 0 0)
  \once \override Stem #'extra-offset = #'(-0.2 . -0.2)
  \once \override Stem #'flag-style = #'no-flag
  \once \override Accidental #'extra-offset = #'(3.1 . 0)
}

\relative c' {
  << { \fixA <b d!>8 } \\ { \voiceThree \fixB dis } >> s
}

[image of music]


Double glissando

To connect chords with glissando lines, attach a second glissando to a hidden voice.

\relative c {
  \clef bass
  <<
    {
      % new voice ( = \voiceOne), hidden
      \hideNotes
      % attach glissando to note heads
      e2\glissando g
    }
    \\
    { 
      % original voice with chords rearranged so that
      % glissando is attached to a & c
      <e a,>2\glissando <g c,>
    }
  >>
}

[image of music]


Forcing horizontal shift of notes

When the typesetting engine cannot cope, the following syntax can be used to override typesetting decisions. The units of measure used here are staff spaces.

\relative c' <<
  {
    <d g>2 <d g>
  }
  \\
  {
    <b f'>2
    \once \override NoteColumn #'force-hshift = #1.7
    <b f'>2
  }
>>

[image of music]


Suppressing warnings for clashing note columns

If notes from two voices with stems in the same direction are placed at the same position, and both voices have no shift or the same shift specified, the error message "warning: ignoring too many clashing note columns" will appear when compiling the LilyPond file. This message can be suppressed by setting the 'ignore-collision property of the NoteColumn object to #t.

ignore = \override NoteColumn #'ignore-collision = ##t

\relative c' {
  <<
    \ignore
    { \stemDown f2 g }
    \\
    { c2 c, }
  >>
}

[image of music]


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